Meica Horsburgh, the captain of Australia’s goalball side, sits down for a powerful and emotional discussion on mental health, bullying and how sport saved her life.
Horsburgh, who was born with albinism, was the victim of bullying, prejudice and discrimination throughout her childhood, culminating in an attempt to take her own life aged 13. “The bullying was daily. I got called a lot of names. It got to the point where I hated life and to me there was nothing to live for. I struggled a lot.”
It was only when Horsburgh discovered the sport of goalball that she found a community that she could connect with. She was able to find a release for her frustrations, and build confidence within herself, changing her psychology through time on the court. Appearing for the national side at 14, she has gone on to captain the Aussie Belles goalball team and led them all the way to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. “Goalball saved me. I found a place I could fit in and I knew I wasn’t alone there. Trying to change my mindset really helped.”
The story of Horsburgh is one of hope and perseverance, as well as a message and a lesson to us all, of the struggles and persecution millions have to deal with on a daily basis. “We have come a long way, but disability is one of those things people will always look at because they are different. We’ve still got a long way to go to have people look at you with admiration.”
Horsburgh also opens up on her life within the sport, the relationship she has with her teammates and the pride she has in representing Australia at the very highest level of sport.
Learning topics for the episode include mental health, perseverance, positive mindset, the importance of sport, teamwork and relationships.
If you have been affected by any of the topics discussed in this episode, help and advice is available at http://www.paralympic.org/mental-health
Allianz is a long-standing partner of the International Paralympic Committee. Together, we’re proud to bring you this series of podcasts. We aim to help you move forward in all aspects of your personal and professional life.
By hearing from Paralympic stars, you’ll be introduced to stories that inspire and change the way you think. Stories of facing life’s challenges with confidence, determination and excellence, and the true power of having the right team behind you.